My eBay Collection # 2 (for Querelle), 2010 (detail), framed old photographs, variable dimensions, courtesy of the artist and Givon Gallery, Tel Aviv
Erez Israeli represents a new type of enthusiastic collector who purchases his collections online. In the context of his concern with identity, bereavement, heroism, kitsch, death, symbolization and representation, Israeli obsessively collects Holocaust memorabilia. In My eBay Collection # 1 (2009), he displays the collection of Holocaust souvenirs he purchased on eBay alongside Internet documentation that seemingly confirms their authenticity. Some of these objects are authentic, while others are fakes produced to be sold online. Israeli's interest in these forgeries is due to the fact that they reflect the commercialization and desacralization of the Holocaust, the subordination of historical memory to the logic of consumption, and the banality of representational conventions detached from a concrete reality. His ironic gaze also touches upon the manipulative quality inherent to the more general process of producing objects of desire - while taking responsibility for his participation in this process.
Israeli's drive to collect is also reflected in a wall featuring dozens of framed photographs of sailors, which were sent overseas from Europe during the Second World War. Although these photographs were similarly collected on eBay, what began as a personal interest in nostalgic, emotionally charged images has developed into a typological study of the different types of photography studios, props and backdrops. The romantic, homoerotic aura of these images of sailors (the work is dedicated to Querelles, the sailor from Jean Genet's novel Querelles of Brest) is compatible with the world of clichés and pathos-filled images characteristic of Israeli's works. The process of collecting the images, the personal touch, and their individual framing and serial ordering - all contribute to blurring the line between the identity of the artist and that of the collector.
Born in Be'er Sheba, 1974; lives and works in Tel Aviv